A Winged Friend Drops In

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Country road driving,

Fluttering wings catch my eye;

Hello, Hitchhiker!

 

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Just over a week ago I was driving along the back roads from finishing some work, and the sun was shining, and I had my windows rolled down a bit to let the wind blow in gently.

Listening to the radio and glancing at the rear-view mirror periodically, at one point my gaze was immediately drawn to some erratic fluttering in the back window.  I soon realized what it was and stopped the car – it’s a quiet stretch of road where I was – and went to investigate further.  Somehow….not sure if via the open windows or when I had opened and closed the hatchback door earlier, this gentle creature managed to get inside for a ride.

I wondered how attached butterflies and moths get to their surroundings, for I may have relocated this one several kilometres further from where it had been.

In any case, I took some photos of this daring wanderer and then set it free….to flutter away in its characteristic style on the flow of the breeze.

 

 

 

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A Winged Visitor

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A buzz and a flit,

Then quietly, lightly perched –

Fly, four-winged dragon!

 

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I spotted this reddish dragonfly whilst roaming in the front garden last summer.  First she flitted here and there, and I thought….”Too fast for a picture!  I wish she’d land somewhere and give me a chance.”

And, d’you know?  She listened!

Next thing I knew she had landed on this well-situated plant and stood there patiently, as if to say, “Well, what are you waiting for?  I’m ready!”

She was in no hurry.  I snapped several photos of her, admiring the detail in her fine, lacy wings, her colours, and what a unique looking insect overall.

I love seeing dragonflies.  I’ve had one land on my leg while canoeing on a river; I’ve had another one land on my shoulder as I was in the garden.  I enjoy watching their flight….how light and graceful they move.

Before posting this photo though, just to make sure my information was correct, I double-checked online to see what the differences are between dragonflies and damselflies.  I came across a helpful blog post here, which confirmed it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Days Later…

 

Look how it’s grown!

 

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My mother and I replaced older milkweed leaves with newer ones today and had a closer look at all THREE caterpillars.

The one in the top photo is the largest and measures at 3.5 centimetres this morning.

 

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For some perspective to show the leaf size and the caterpillar, I am standing a bit further back.

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This is the next largest one, at 2 centimetres long.

Totally engrossed in munching on its milkweed leaf…

 

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The second one…from a different angle…..

 

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In this last photo I wanted to show the second largest caterpillar as it’s eating, and you can see the third one below it….it’s quite small….only just 0.8 centimetres.

 

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Note:  If you missed the first post highlighting these caterpillars, have a look here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Friendly Encounter

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Ticklish on my hand,

Orange, black, and beige design;

Set it free outside.

 

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Such an eye-catching pattern!

I was in the midst of cleaning a cottage on Sunday morning, when I noticed this pretty little one by the door, but on the inside.

I was able to pick it up gently and I hoped it would stay calm, until I could get the door open and let it fly free again.  It was most cooperative….even letting me take some pictures of it.  Its gentle little feet tickled my skin, as it moved along the back of my hand.

Then I opened the back door and stepped outside with my winged “passenger.”  It didn’t take off right away, so I lifted my hand a little higher, and then it took flight.  I watched it go for as long as I could see it.  Lots of little swoops in its flight towards the trees across the field.

Just now I looked through some moth identification sites, and it seems to be called simply an Orange Moth….although its cousin just might be the Scarlet Tiger Moth….a few similarities in both patterns.

Mystery Insect

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You hear the buzzing,

Fast wing beats; it seeks nectar.

And look — it’s orange!

 

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There are two of us working in the garden….weeding and hoeing and trimming.  At one point we stopped to take a breather and admire the flowers that were blooming.

We could see the busy butterflies, delicately perching on purple or blue flowers here and there in the search for delicious nectar.

We could hear the hum of sound created by several bumble bees, moving along purposefully from flower to flower for their share of nectar and, of course, pollen.

Then Ryan, my gardening partner, spied something unusual.  At first he thought it was a really tiny hummingbird, as it seemed to fly and hover similar in that style.  It was hard to get a really good glimpse of it, so I pulled out my phone to snap some shots to help us with identification.  As we observed its movements, it eventually became clear that it WASN’T a hummingbird but another type of insect.  And the photos seem to support that idea.

As both Ryan and I have never seen such an insect before, I decided to post some photos of it on my blog and see if any of my readers might be familiar with it and could enlighten me as to its identity.

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Any ideas???

 

 

Garden Resident

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Sits ever so still;

But on approaching too close,

Whoop!  Leaping surprise!

 

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It was one of those days when a lot of wildlife showed up in the garden as I was hoeing and weeding.

First, a more beige-coloured frog surprised me, when it jumped from beneath some leaves, as I must have been getting closer with the hoe.

Then a little later, this little green, spotted fellow crossed my path and soon sat in the cool shade and let me take oodles of photos. Such a cutie!

AND THEN! As I continued hoeing, all of a sudden there was a slithering going on! Startled me a bit until I realized it was a garter snake – I guess I disturbed her rest.  And I watched her do her slithery circle thing through the grass and back into the flower bed.  As she disappeared underneath some protective leaves, another frog suddenly leaped from that same area and crossed the path to the other side!!

And among some blue-ish flower spikes, there was a constant buzzing and wing flapping going on – both bumble bees and butterflies dining busily on all the nectar.

Lots of action happening!

 

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A Visitor Flutters By

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Alighting with grace,

Sipping nectar here and there;

Butterfly delight!

 

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Last week I noticed a lively activity among these clusters of light purple flowers.   There were butterfly couples constantly fluttering about and exploring among the fragrant lilac flowers and getting their fill of nectar. They’d go away and then come back again. I could see them every time I passed by.  I wondered….were they actual couples?

I didn’t have a chance to get photos of the beige-patterned butterfly visitors (whose markings reminded me somewhat of monarchs), but the swallowtails – like the one in these photos – were quite cooperative as models.

 

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Shimmery Green

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Crawling on the ground,

Luminescent green beetle;

Take a closer look!

 

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Here’s an unusual looking beetle bug – such a luminescent green colour!

I thought such colourful bugs always seem to live in more tropical climates…..rather than here in southeastern Ontario, Canada.
Found this bug crawling along one of the flower beds that I was working on – hoeing, weeding, and then sowing Lavatera seeds.

I was so enthralled with this cool little, shimmery bug and I wanted to get some photos of it – perhaps to also get some identification assistance?? – With the use of an empty white bucket (having removed the accumulated weeds from inside), I was able to get some photos without it running away on me.

A friend later on told me the name of this bug – Six Spotted Tiger Beetle – and said it was a gorgeous specimen.  He also added that this bug has a “Global Range: It occurs across the entire eastern half of the United States with the exception of the deep south and Florida panhandle and extends into southeastern Canada. It is naturally occurring = not imported.”

Another Day of Wonders!

Hello, Friends in this Enjoyable Blogosphere!

Guess what unforeseen and exciting encounter I had on my walk today….

Give up?

Well, yeah, I DID get to see a few new things along the way.

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Like, for example, my first Woolly Bear Caterpillar of the season – uh huh….a future Pyrrharctia isabella! Yep, the Isabella Tiger Moth. Who knew that a woolly bear turns into a tiger?? Haha!

And yes, another monarch flitted in front of me…..geez! Still not fast enough to get a pic! Beautiful to watch even so.

Then there was a bird flying above…..just soaring on the wind currents, and I thought at first it might be a hawk or along those lines. I watched until it disappeared further into the sky. And then I walked along some more and saw about 4-5 of them all flying about one of the farms I go past. Then I thought….crows? But they looked more brownish in colour…..??  (A friend suggested to me later that it looked like a turkey vulture.)

One of the tall maples that I always admire on my walk had a little secret to show me. All surrounded by its still lush green leaves was a tiny “pocket” of already-turned reddish leaves – like its own little heart of autumn or its own little red “heart” of leaves.  Isn’t that cool?

HOWEVER, the absolute highlight for me was meeting up with someone new! You just never know what a new day will bring! Soooo exciting! She passed me the first time, as I was walking towards the turnaround point, and we briefly said “hi” and “what a beautiful day!” And my iPhone camera was being slow, so I only got a photo of her backside. Darn, I thought at first. Oh well, but at least I got something to remember the unusual contraption she was riding. Well, but wasn’t the Universe having some fun with me, when I later on spied the same cyclist coming towards me on my return leg of the route!! Haha! Second chance here; not wasting it! Got my iPhone ready for some more pics. And then we ended up having an initial brief chat…..and then she pulled over for a lengthier one! I was some tickled!! Oooooeeee! What a cool way to meet someone, and we fell into conversation easy peasy, like that, and had some laughs already. Yes, yes, you guessed it. We ultimately exchanged phone numbers and will be getting together for a really long visit! Gotta love life and its wonderful gifts!

P.S. Later on I googled a bit to find some more info on recumbent trikes, because that’s what she was riding. Just the coolest thing!

Of Grasshoppers and Spiders

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So nimble-legged

Hopping here, there…..leaping high!

Landing calm and sure.

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This web acrobat

Floating, repelling, spinning…

Trapping its dinner.

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On my walk yesterday I was treated to several insect encounters – it was just that kind of a day!  🙂

A friendly grasshopper hopped on over into my path, and we checked each other out. I got close enough – yes, for photos! haha! – but also I could see his head tilt a bit, as if he was wondering about this HUGE creature near him!

In the butterfly category, I had my wish answered! I have been wanting to see more monarchs, as I am aware of environmental influences on their numbers along with the incredibly long migration routes they tackle every year. I got to see one briefly in the evening a few days ago, but I kept feeling there should be more.

So yesterday four of them fluttered alongside me, at different points along the route. One even “danced” with me! Took me for a twirly spin, as I followed it. Hahaha! None of them landed anywhere for a good photo op, but it felt great just to see them!

I have seen other “flutterbys” on my walks – yellow and white ones – but I REALLY wanted to see more monarchs.

Diverging from the insects to arachnids….an eight-legged spider that I found on the windowsill – I gently captured and took it outside. When I released it, it started climbing along some grasses, and it was in no hurry.